Zippo dating marks
(You can learn more the dating code here.) Also stamped on the bottom of every Zippo lighter is the town where it was made—Bradford, PA. You see, there was a period when Zippo operated a factory in Canada (tax purposes), and lighters that came from that factory were stamped with “Niagara Falls, Ontario,” in place of “Bradford, Pennsylvania.” Since Zippo Canada’s production wasn’t close to that of Zippo USA, a Zippo from the land of poutine is a must-have for any serious collector. And this trend goes on, with small runs and new designs.
Today, Zippo’s design center comes up with 30 new creations every year.
In 1952, GE received Zippo lighters that looked like Ultra-Vision televisions, which some customers received when they bought the TV set.
As if the lighters themselves were not enough, it is perhaps the failed experiments that drive collectors the craziest.
Don Draper and company lit their Lucky Strikes from Zippo lighters sent to the set.
Frank Sinatra was buried with one—and unless Bill Murray goes six feet under with a collection of Pogs, that’s gonna be tough to top.
When you have a product perfect for collecting—many iterations, a reasonable price tag (minus that 18K gold number), a long history—and you factor in a certain je ne sais quoi, you have something that will spur the creation of collectors clubs (there are many), fan pages, and rabid collectors all hunting for Black Crackles, old date markings, and a two-wheeled Zippo that somehow slipped out of a factory in Bradford, Pennsylvania.
Zippo Canada opened in August 1949 and was the only place, other than Bradford, where Zippo lighters were produced.
But that’s a figure that doesn’t happen overnight—hell, it took Ty Inc.